Biogen will use Apple Watch to study symptoms of dementia

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited January 11
Biogen is launching a new virtual research study in collaboration with Apple, one that will look into how an Apple Watch and iPhone could help monitor a person's cognitive decline, a potential symptom of dementia and neurological diseases.




The study will last for multiple years, and will launch later in 2021. People across a wide range of ages and cognitive performance levels will be asked to take part by Biogen, with the aim of determining whether wearable devices like the Apple Watch could be used for long-term cognitive performance monitoring.

The ultimate goal is to develop digital biomarkers for cognitive performance monitoring over time, which could potentially help detect early signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

At present, there are significant delays in recognizing declines in cognitive health, which affects between 15 and 20% of adults over the age of 65. The subtle onset of symptoms, including being easily distracted and memory loss, can potentially take months or even years before it is observed as a cognitive decline by healthcare providers.

"The successful development of digital biomarkers in brain health would help address the significant need to accelerate patient diagnoses and empower physicians and individuals to take timely action," said Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos."For healthcare systems, such advancements in cognitive biomarkers from large-scale studies could contribute significantly to prevention and better population-based health outcomes, and lower costs to health systems."

Apple hopes the study "can help the medical community better understand a person's cognitive performance by simply having them engage with their Apple Watch and iPhone," said Apple COO Jeff Williams. "We're looking forward to learning about the impact our technology can have in delivering better health outcomes through improved detection of declining cognitive health."

The Apple Watch has been used for a number of health studies in the past, conducted through the Research app. This includes a study to detect heart issues before they become a problem, a hearing study monitoring ambient sound volumes, and activity and movement.

The study is designed to ensure consumer privacy, control, and transparency, with a focus on data security. Participants will complete a detailed consent from listing the collected data types and how they are used and shared before taking part, and can withdraw at any time.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,262member
    It's great that another study is using the Apple Watch to gather real time, objective research data.   That is sorely needed.

    But this one I don't get:   Biogen is essentially a drug company.   And, since there is no cure for dementia and there is only prevention, it is unclear what they are studying or trying to accomplish.    So what if a person headed to dementia (which is essentially a condition of dead and dying neurons brought on by poor diets, lack of physical activity to promote adequate blood flow, lack of mental stimulation to fire neurons, and a lack of sleep to clear toxins) is diagnosed a year earlier?   They will still be headed towards dementia.

    But, if this study contributes to a better understand the various types of dementia and their causes, it is more likely to contribute to society.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    It's great that another study is using the Apple Watch to gather real time, objective research data.   That is sorely needed.

    But this one I don't get:   Biogen is essentially a drug company.   And, since there is no cure for dementia and there is only prevention, it is unclear what they are studying or trying to accomplish.    So what if a person headed to dementia (which is essentially a condition of dead and dying neurons brought on by poor diets, lack of physical activity to promote adequate blood flow, lack of mental stimulation to fire neurons, and a lack of sleep to clear toxins) is diagnosed a year earlier?   They will still be headed towards dementia.

    But, if this study contributes to a better understand the various types of dementia and their causes, it is more likely to contribute to society.
    If people can get an earlier diagnosis of dementia than they’ll have more time to prepare for it. Power of  Attorney is much easier to sort out while you’re still lucid. 

    It may not be curable, but study will help find ways of slowing its progression. 
    edited January 11
  • Reply 3 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,262member
    Rayz2016 said:
    It's great that another study is using the Apple Watch to gather real time, objective research data.   That is sorely needed.

    But this one I don't get:   Biogen is essentially a drug company.   And, since there is no cure for dementia and there is only prevention, it is unclear what they are studying or trying to accomplish.    So what if a person headed to dementia (which is essentially a condition of dead and dying neurons brought on by poor diets, lack of physical activity to promote adequate blood flow, lack of mental stimulation to fire neurons, and a lack of sleep to clear toxins) is diagnosed a year earlier?   They will still be headed towards dementia.

    But, if this study contributes to a better understand the various types of dementia and their causes, it is more likely to contribute to society.
    If people can get an earlier diagnosis of dementia than they’ll have more time to prepare for it. Power of  Attorney is much easier to sort out while you’re still lucid. 

    It may not be curable, but study will help find ways of slowing its progression. 

    Call me a cynic -- but doctors have been telling me for 30 years that I have arthritis and degenerative joint disease and I should prepare to be debilitated.   Meanwhile, most doctors I see wish that they were in as good a shape as me and could do the things that I do every day. 
    ... Excuse me -- but I've got to do my Apple Fitness+ workouts then go for a 5 or 6 mile run.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    I initially read that title as...something else. 🤦‍♂️
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I initially read that title as...something else. 🤦‍♂️
    So did I!
    watto_cobrabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    Rayz2016 said:
    It's great that another study is using the Apple Watch to gather real time, objective research data.   That is sorely needed.

    But this one I don't get:   Biogen is essentially a drug company.   And, since there is no cure for dementia and there is only prevention, it is unclear what they are studying or trying to accomplish.    So what if a person headed to dementia (which is essentially a condition of dead and dying neurons brought on by poor diets, lack of physical activity to promote adequate blood flow, lack of mental stimulation to fire neurons, and a lack of sleep to clear toxins) is diagnosed a year earlier?   They will still be headed towards dementia.

    But, if this study contributes to a better understand the various types of dementia and their causes, it is more likely to contribute to society.
    If people can get an earlier diagnosis of dementia than they’ll have more time to prepare for it. Power of  Attorney is much easier to sort out while you’re still lucid. 

    It may not be curable, but study will help find ways of slowing its progression. 

    Call me a cynic -- but doctors have been telling me for 30 years that I have arthritis and degenerative joint disease and I should prepare to be debilitated.   Meanwhile, most doctors I see wish that they were in as good a shape as me and could do the things that I do every day. 
    ... Excuse me -- but I've got to do my Apple Fitness+ workouts then go for a 5 or 6 mile run.
    Which of course, has nothing to with anything. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 7 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,262member
    Rayz2016 said:

    Rayz2016 said:
    It's great that another study is using the Apple Watch to gather real time, objective research data.   That is sorely needed.

    But this one I don't get:   Biogen is essentially a drug company.   And, since there is no cure for dementia and there is only prevention, it is unclear what they are studying or trying to accomplish.    So what if a person headed to dementia (which is essentially a condition of dead and dying neurons brought on by poor diets, lack of physical activity to promote adequate blood flow, lack of mental stimulation to fire neurons, and a lack of sleep to clear toxins) is diagnosed a year earlier?   They will still be headed towards dementia.

    But, if this study contributes to a better understand the various types of dementia and their causes, it is more likely to contribute to society.
    If people can get an earlier diagnosis of dementia than they’ll have more time to prepare for it. Power of  Attorney is much easier to sort out while you’re still lucid. 

    It may not be curable, but study will help find ways of slowing its progression. 

    Call me a cynic -- but doctors have been telling me for 30 years that I have arthritis and degenerative joint disease and I should prepare to be debilitated.   Meanwhile, most doctors I see wish that they were in as good a shape as me and could do the things that I do every day. 
    ... Excuse me -- but I've got to do my Apple Fitness+ workouts then go for a 5 or 6 mile run.
    Which of course, has nothing to with anything. 
    Except for your comment that:  "If people can get an earlier diagnosis of dementia than they’ll have more time to prepare for it."


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